Currently on IFC is The Mirror, a six-part web-series from AB Video Solutions, the film production company of Baltimore, MD-based art collective Wham City who previously released the equal parts strange and exceptionally well-made (and much talked about) shorts Unedited Footage of a Bear, This House Has People in It, and others in Adult Swim‘s late-night Infomercials series.
The Mirror follows The Children of the Mirror, a bizarre cult who are preparing for a mostly-unexplained event referred to as “The Return” – in which something is coming into our world through the Lovecraftian “Tindalos Doorways”. The series is presented as a collection of six educational/training videos for cult members, organized by cult leader Curtis (Robby Rackleff) and three of his closest disciples, Reece (Ben O’Brien), Fanny, (Cricket Arrison), and Wesley (Alan Resnick). Although in the series canon there are evidently ninety-eight of these videos, we as the audience only see six – #5 Creativity, #8 Altruism, #13 Cleanliness, #28 Water, #56 Cleanliness II, and #98 Interstellar Telepathic Communication.
Over the course of these videos, the series goes from mostly comedic to a much darker psychological horror, eventually leading viewers down the rabbit-hole alongside the cult as their leader Curtis grows more and more erratic and unstable, ultimately concluding with a mind-bending climax that you’ll just have to see for yourself to fully appreciate. The overall pacing and storytelling on display here are excellent, right on par with the filmmakers’ previous works, making it very easy to see why these people have continued to get so much work with both Adult Swim and IFC alike. The acting is perfectly on-point and much in the vein of real-life cults such as the infamous Heaven’s Gate Cult of the 1990s, and – particularly with the instructional videos – was no doubt a major inspiration to the creators.
With each episode clocking it at about five-minutes each, making a total series runtime of only about a half-hour, it’s a very easy watch, and manages to pack in so much in such a short amount of time. As with everything AB Video Solutions/Wham City creates, there is also more to unearth about the overall mysteries and what not through their website, although it is 100% on the viewer to dig around and discover this for themselves, as they never once tell anyone about it, or even offer clues to exactly where these things are on the web. Dig around online, though, and check out some of the much more in-depth analyses of the series for help with this.
Unlike previous projects, however, especially This House Has People in It, the additional multi-faceted content doesn’t really offer all that much to uncovering the mysteries, explaining more of the story, or really giving you that much more to sink your teeth into, so that’s definitely a downside to this one as opposed to others. That being said, it’s still very much worth your half-hour of commitment, even if it could honestly do well with a few more episodes.
The Bottom Line:
Overall, The Mirror is yet another excellent offering from the AB Video Solutions/Wham City crew, and is definitely something worth checking out for both fans of their previous work, and fans of occult/psychological horror in general. While not quite on the level of Unedited Footage of a Bear or This House Has People in It, this is still exceptionally well-made, just as offbeat and bizarre, and a very respectable addition to their catalog. The entire series is currently available for free viewing via IFC – including the IFC Official YouTube Channel. – 8.5/10